PDA

View Full Version : Lease contract ... is this part normal?



Jheregvonmunch
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:28 AM
Ive leased horses before. 1 year. 1/3 all expenses the problem of lessee... standard wam bam thank you mam.

Well now I have one client doing a short lease to another for the board fee only. The owner wants a clause in the contract that states if the lessee injures the horse during the lease they have to pay the vet expenses. Fine. No problem there... but they also want a clause to say once the 4 months is over and the lease is ended if the horse is still off due to that injury they want the lessee to continue to pay the medical expenses. The owner has a 10K major medical insurance policy but Im still having a hard time allowing the clause to lock the lessee into still having to pay medical expenses months after the lease ends? I am trying to be neutral to both parties.

Thoughts anyone?

SquishTheBunny
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:34 AM
Sorry, your post is worded a little funny its hard to understand exactly what the issue is?

Im assuming the issue is that leasee is required to pay medical bills to leaser PAST the end lease date.

If thats the case, then no...thats silly. Leasee should cover the 4 months of medical insurance (with possibility of increasing to 100% coverage) and must pay deductable within the lease time period. After the lease has ended, its ended.

TheBarnRules
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:35 AM
...but they also want a clause to say once the 4 months is over and the lease is ended if the horse is still off due to that injury they want the lessee to continue to pay the medical expenses.


Why do you think this is not fair? If the lessee caused the injury, shouldn't they pay for it in full? The lessor's insurance policy is immaterial.

Ajierene
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:36 AM
I have not seen that before but think it is pretty reasonable. If *you* injure my horse and hence *I* cannot ride it even though the lease is up, and now you want to stick me with the bill?

What if you injure the horse at month 3 and a half?

If the leasor is not asking for board, just additional medical expenses if the horse is still injured, that would not turn me off.

nycjumper
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:38 AM
Um.. no. If the leasee wanted to take on lifetime responsibility for medical care, I assume he/she would be buying.

Personally, if I were leasee, I wouldn't sign on for that.

sar2008
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:38 AM
I agree with the other posters. If leasee injures horse, they need to pay the vet bills and continue leasing horse until horse is 100% back in same condition it was brought to you in.

This is just standard ettiquette (sp?) IMO.

sar2008
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:40 AM
Um.. no. If the leasee wanted to take on lifetime responsibility for medical care, I assume he/she would be buying.

Personally, if I were leasee, I wouldn't sign on for that.

Ummmmm, ok.

So if you leased a horse, horse pulled suspensory, lease ran up...you would expect to give the horse back to the owner and have them take over vet bills YOU caused??

Um....no.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:46 AM
Ive leased horses before. 1 year. 1/3 all expenses the problem of lessee... standard wam bam thank you mam.


This is the part that confuses me. My horse is currently leased out for 1/3 of his approximate market value. But the person leasing him is responsible for 100% of the costs of his care and maintenance during that time, including major medical and mortality (with me as beneficiary) insurance costs.

I've never seen a lease that stipulates the lessee is responsible for 1/3 of all expenses. Perhaps I misread your first paragraph, but if that was indeed how you wrote it, that's not a particularly standard lease either...

I think the trouble with a clause like this in any lease agreement is that it's very difficult to prove that any one party CAUSED an injury. If the horse pulls a suspensory during the lease, and it happens in turnout, I wouldn't really call that anyone's fault. Even if the lessee were riding the horse while an injury happened, it's going to be difficult to prove it's anyone's fault (did the horse spook? trip? hang a leg?). Aside from the lessee actually, like, stabbing the horse or beating it to a pulp, most common injuries are pretty much freak accidents...

klmck63
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:51 AM
So if you leased a horse, horse pulled suspensory, lease ran up...you would expect to give the horse back to the owner and have them take over vet bills YOU caused??


As someone whose horse has been off since November... You know people with lame horses don't do this stuff on purpose, right?

If the lessee hurts the horse on purpose... (well you shouldn't let them lease your horse!) but sure, then they need to pay for the bills.

But standard injuries that happen to horses all the time no matter what kind of excellent care you take of them? No way, vet bills are over once the lease is over. And would you really want someone who has absolutely no investment in your horse, and only rode it for four months, responsible for all the vet bills? I guess it depends on how good your contract is, but if you as the owner decided you wanted some IRAP or tildren or shockwave done to help healing, I certainly wouldn't be paying for that.

TheBarnRules
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:52 AM
I've never seen a lease that stipulates the lessee is responsible for 1/3 of all expenses. Perhaps I misread your first paragraph, but if that was indeed how you wrote it, that's not a particularly standard lease either...

I've written lease agreements where the lessee is paying only a portion of the horse's expenses - usually comes up when the lessor wants to maintain some (okay, a LOT :lol:) of control.

meupatdoes
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:52 AM
Yes it is fair to have the lessee continue to pay medical expenses until the condition that occurred during the lease is resolved.

Otherwise they could say, "Oh look, the lease is up tomorrow... hm, I have always wanted to try my hand at bull fighting," get the horse gored in the stomach and then leave the owner with the bills because whoopsie the lease is up.

Obviously a dramatic example but you get the idea.

The clause also makes a lessee DEMONSTRATE commitment to the care of the horse and returning a sound one, instead of just paying lip service to the concept with plans to leave the owner high and dry if anything happens.

alibi_18
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:53 AM
This is really complicated.

I agree it would be fair that if the leasee injured the horse, he should pay until the horse is healed. On the other hand,

What if the horse have then a lifelong issue requiring meds?
Or what if the horse develop a medical condition like asthma, after lets say getting a cold because not properly blanketed horse, while being under the leasee care? (could that be considered like an injury? or would that be taken care by the leasor?)

sar2008
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:54 AM
As someone whose horse has been off since November... You know people with lame horses don't do this stuff on purpose, right?

If the lessee hurts the horse on purpose... (well you shouldn't let them lease your horse!) but sure, then they need to pay for the bills.

But standard injuries that happen to horses all the time no matter what kind of excellent care you take of them? No way, vet bills are over once the lease is over. And would you really want someone who has absolutely no investment in your horse, and only rode it for four months, responsible for all the vet bills? I guess it depends on how good your contract is, but if you as the owner decided you wanted some IRAP or tildren or shockwave done to help healing, I certainly wouldn't be paying for that.

Sorry, I disagree. A suspensory is not a standard injury. At least not at my barn. An abscess, yes-fine but big injuries that can be prevented....no way.

STA: Obviously people don't injure horses on purpose :rolleyes: but the leasee needs to take some sort of responsibility for the horse while in their care.

meupatdoes
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:03 PM
Sorry, I disagree. A suspensory is not a standard injury. At least not at my barn. An abscess, yes-fine but big injuries that can be prevented....no way.

STA: Obviously people don't injure horses on purpose :rolleyes: but the leasee needs to take some sort of responsibility for the horse while in their care.

Thank you.

Obviously leasing is an alternative to life long horse ownership and provides many people the opportunity to ride a horse of a quality level they could never afford otherwise, but this does not mean it is a "use the horse as you like but get out of jail free whenever you like" situation either.

Too many lessees act like they are doing the owner a huge favor when really if they had to come up with a horse of similar quality on their own budget or as a result of their own training skills it would be completely out of the question.

So take some resonsibility for it while it is in your care custody and control.

klmck63
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:03 PM
Sorry, I disagree. A suspensory is not a standard injury. At least not at my barn. An abscess, yes-fine but big injuries that can be prevented....no way.

A suspensory is a preventable injury? Nope. Horse gets silly in turnout, horse trips while you're walking around cooling it out after a ride, horse spooks and bolts, etc. etc.

Anyways, to the OP I would never sign up for a lease that held me accountable for vet costs after the lease was done. If someone else had been riding my horse when he hurt himself (and as a matter of fact we can't actually tell when my horse hurt himself) I would not be holding them accountable for last five months of treatment and vet visits, contract or not. As an example, he has had three issues, all semi-related to the first issue. Thousands of dollars of vet bills. Would the lessee have to pay for all of those, too?



Otherwise they could say, "Oh look, the lease is up tomorrow... hm, I have always wanted to try my hand at bull fighting," get the horse gored in the stomach and then leave the owner with the bills because whoopsie the lease is up.


This is silly. Anyone I would trust to lease/ride my horse I could trust not to do something stupid like that.

nycjumper
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:05 PM
Horses injure themselves all the time in freak accidents despite responsible care.

If leasee causes injury to horse due to gross negligence, then yes, leasee has responsibility to cure that damage financially. If horse injures himself through circumstances outside of leasee's control, than no, not standard to say leasee will hold the financial responsibility forever.

I'm a little unclear as to which circumstance the OP was refering to when stating "if lessee injures horse.." Does that mean through gross negligence/neglect? Then yes, of course, wouldn't disagree. However if the latter, and it is an accidental injury while horse is in leasee's care - then no, it's not standard in the contracts I've seen and again, I wouldn't personally sign on for that.

And regarding horse care - every lease contract I've seen or signed had a clause in there about leasee being responsible for maintaining certain level of care and any violation of that was grounds for termination of lease.

klmck63
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:05 PM
So take some resonsibility for it while it is in your care custody and control.

They do... By paying the vet bills and other expenses while the horse is in their care custody and control. Not afterwards.

Jaideux
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:24 PM
Only responsible for medical bills while the horse is in the leasee's care. That's part of the risk of leasing out, and part of the benefit of leasing.

You have to figure out if you're comfortable with that level of risk, on both ends.

Most standard leases say the leasee can be held responsible for gross negligence. What that means I suppose is up to the individual contract, but no one is suggesting the leasee can get off scot-free for being an asshat. They are only responsible for the costs of the horse during the lease that fall under the lease agreement (shoes, vet, insurance, etc).

That's also why, usually, the leasee is paying INTO the insurance while they have the horse- to cover events like this in the event the horse is returned unusable out of gross negligence or an accident in the pasture.

kristinq
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:39 PM
Horses injure themselves all the time in freak accidents despite responsible care.

If leasee causes injury to horse due to gross negligence, then yes, leasee has responsibility to cure that damage financially. If horse injures himself through circumstances outside of leasee's control, than no, not standard to say leasee will hold the financial responsibility forever.

I'm a little unclear as to which circumstance the OP was refering to when stating "if lessee injures horse.." Does that mean through gross negligence/neglect? Then yes, of course, wouldn't disagree. However if the latter, and it is an accidental injury while horse is in leasee's care - then no, it's not standard in the contracts I've seen and again, I wouldn't personally sign on for that.

And regarding horse care - every lease contract I've seen or signed had a clause in there about leasee being responsible for maintaining certain level of care and any violation of that was grounds for termination of lease.

Agreed.

In order to reduce confusion, there needs to be a distinction as to whether the injury was caused by gross negligence or by conditions which are outside of the leasee's control. If the leasee is responsible for the injury then they should also be responsible for paying those specific bills even after the contract is up. However, if the horse gets hurt and it is not the leasee's fault then they should not be held responsible for those bills.

Of course, there might be problems with determining who is at fault.

sar2008
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:40 PM
I guess I have never had issues because I require my leasee's to carry INSURANCE. Which covers injuries so they don't end up paying anything, except the deductable, out of pocket. When someone else is paying for it, people don't tend to gripe as much.

But then again, you all that think giving back a lame horse is okay probably hoot and holler about paying insurance as well. :confused: *flame suit on*

klmck63
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:46 PM
But then again, you all that think giving back a lame horse is okay probably hoot and holler about paying insurance as well. :confused:

Nope, quite happy to have my insurance. I just don't believe someone who signs on for four months of care of a horse should be on the hook for some potentially large/longterm vet bills if the horse hurts himself in turnout on the last day of the lease.

RockinHorse
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:48 PM
Perhaps they can come up with a compromise that, in the event the horse is hurt while on lease, after the lease is up, the person leasing will be responsible for the vet bills resulting from the injury but not to exceed $XXX

meupatdoes
Apr. 1, 2011, 01:16 PM
But then again, you all that think giving back a lame horse is okay probably hoot and holler about paying insurance as well. :confused: *flame suit on*

This actually happened to me.

I was willing to FREE LEASE a $45,000 horse to a professional and the fact that I expected her to pay an insurance premium to cover any issues was a deal breaker for her.

Completely unwilling to take ANY responsibility for the horse whatsoever.

Lucassb
Apr. 1, 2011, 01:16 PM
I can see both sides of this situation.

If the lessee is going to purchase insurance as a condition of the lease, (hopefully naming the lessor as the beneficiary) then I'd think easy solution is to arrange for the insurance policy to potentially cover a period beyond the short term lease period - if necessary.

I would think you can arrange it so that vet bills arising out of an injury/illness occurring during the lease are to be paid under that policy until the injury/illness is resolved. After all, most insurance policies will cover extended treatment even beyond the end of the policy term for some period of time, to cover situations where the horse gets hurt in the last week of the coverage period and requires treatment even after that term expires. The insurance companies do this so that they still meet their obligations to the insured - since the injury/illness happened while the horse was covered - while still allowing them to exclude that condition when the policy is renewed.

I would think that there could be a clause stating that in the event an injury/illness occurs during the lease period that requires treatment extending beyond the the term of the lease, the lessee agrees to keep the insurance policy in force to cover the related expenses for up to the end of the policy term (most policies are for a year term or shorter.)

That way, both parties are covered, the lessee has some responsibility to help fix the horse if they break it, but they know their exposure is limited to the amount of the insurance premium, rather than to the full extent of the vet bills. And the owner has the assurance of the insurance coverage as well, hopefully reducing or eliminating any concern about having to chase the lessee to cover vet bills after the lease is over, or arguing over what sort of $$$ treatment the horse receives in the event of a problem.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 1, 2011, 01:20 PM
Ive leased horses before. 1 year. 1/3 all expenses the problem of lessee... standard wam bam thank you mam.

Well now I have one client doing a short lease to another for the board fee only. The owner wants a clause in the contract that states if the lessee injures the horse during the lease they have to pay the vet expenses. Fine. No problem there... but they also want a clause to say once the 4 months is over and the lease is ended if the horse is still off due to that injury they want the lessee to continue to pay the medical expenses. The owner has a 10K major medical insurance policy but Im still having a hard time allowing the clause to lock the lessee into still having to pay medical expenses months after the lease ends? I am trying to be neutral to both parties.

Thoughts anyone?

This is the part that's going to be nearly impossible to prove in the event that it happens. If the clause is to be worded this way, the lessee would literally have to cause the injury to the horse. Like, go out riding on a skating rink, or let the horse loose on a road, or fail to close the trailer door on the way to a horse show, or some other grossly negligent act that would almost certainly lead to the horse getting injured. The way I read this, this clause has nothing to do with freak turnout injuries or common accidents that happen in this sport. This clause specifically says that the owner is asking the lessee to pay if the horse is injured as a direct result of something the lessee does.

I would sit down with the owner and clarify exactly what they are talking about in regards to the "lessee injuring the horse". Do they mean if the horse is injured while in the lessee's care (turnout accident, cast in stall injury, common sports injury, etc)? Or do they mean if the horse is injured as a result of some action the lessee took while the horse was in their care? Totally different clauses that result in totally different legal action at the end of the line...

nycjumper
Apr. 1, 2011, 01:30 PM
The leasee carrying insurance is also pretty standard and I haven't heard anyone saying otherwise. And I personally have never objected to carrying it on a leased horse for the entire period of the lease. So sar2008, no idea what you're talking about.

And I don't think anyone is advocating running around and breaking someone's horse and giving it back. I mean really, prone to hyperbole much? The point is that in most lease contracts, unless the injury is caused by direct fault or negligence of the leasee, its not normal nor common to say the leasee has an indefinite responsibility to pay the horse's medical bills (or carry insurance) for accidents that are not due to negligence or caused by direct actions of leasee.

It's quite a leap to go from having issues with that to assuming people are advocating ruining someone's horse ;)

SquishTheBunny
Apr. 1, 2011, 01:33 PM
If the person is really that concerned that the leasee is going to cause an injury due to negligence....than they shouldnt lease the horse out!!!

Seriously, injuries happen. They should opt to SELL horse or not lease it if that is the clause.

Leasee is not going to enjoy a lease if they are worried about constantly causing an injury to the horse.

STA
Apr. 1, 2011, 02:05 PM
Once the lease period is over so is the responsibility of the leasee. This is the risk the owner takes when they lease the horse.
If the horse injured himself in a paddock, for example: cut the muscles in his front leg while rolling, I don't think the lessee is responsible for the horse past the end of the lease. What if the lessee was turning him out before a long trailer ride home at the request of the owner?

gottagrey
Apr. 1, 2011, 02:23 PM
Actually I think the owner of the horse to be leased should be commended on their due diligence on the lease contract. Think of it this way. You have health insurance /workers compenation through your employer.. you have an injury to your knee. The initial problem is okay but... 6 months later you change jobs... you're still having problems with that knee. Your knee problems will (or might) still be covered under the former employer's workers' comp/or health insurance.

So I agree w/the owner to a point. Owner can aske Lessee to contribute to the horse's insurance premium (or perhaps its included in the lease fee to make things simpler) second have the contract put date limits on types of injuries - certain lameness issues could go on for years and that's crazy to expect someone to pay for that indefinitely. And certainly many injuries are not due to anyone's fault - just dumb luck

Showhtr
Apr. 1, 2011, 02:47 PM
First if I was that concerned that my horse I was about to lease out could possibly be injured intentionally. He wouldn't be leased out! As the Lessor, you need to know where you horse is going, the trainer, the riders ability and decide if its a good situation or not for your horse. If not then don't go though with it.

Second I have leased several horses before what the Lessor in this cause is asking for is not standard. Typically you ask the Lessee to cover basic/routine vet care while under the Lease, and to cover insurance fees while in their care. Most leases differentiate between basic and major vet care.

In this case as the Lesee I would under no circumstances sign a lease that held me responsible for a horses care beyond the length of the lease. Injuries happen to horses all the time, even with exceptional care. In the worst case scenario the horse gets injured and is unsound for life and I lease this horse for 4 months and now i'm stuck with a lifetime of bills. No Thanks!!

Also another way to look at this is if the Lessee, gets injured by the Lessors horse during the lease. Are they going to be responsible for their medical bills? And perhaps medical bills pertaining to that accident for that persons life. Also not a clause I would sign up for.

I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt that if one reviewed the lease with that clause in it, that they would advise a client to sign that, as is.

STA
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:03 PM
First if I was that concerned that my horse I was about to lease out could possibly be injured intentionally. He wouldn't be leased out! As the Lessor, you need to know where you horse is going, the trainer, the riders ability and decide if its a good situation or not for your horse. If not then don't go though with it.

Second I have leased several horses before what the Lessor in this cause is asking for is not standard. Typically you ask the Lessee to cover basic/routine vet care while under the Lease, and to cover insurance fees while in their care. Most leases differentiate between basic and major vet care.

In this case as the Lesee I would under no circumstances sign a lease that held me responsible for a horses care beyond the length of the lease. Injuries happen to horses all the time, even with exceptional care. In the worst case scenario the horse gets injured and is unsound for life and I lease this horse for 4 months and now i'm stuck with a lifetime of bills. No Thanks!!

Also another way to look at this is if the Lessee, gets injured by the Lessors horse during the lease. Are they going to be responsible for their medical bills? And perhaps medical bills pertaining to that accident for that persons life. Also not a clause I would sign up for.

I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt that if one reviewed the lease with that clause in it, that they would advise a client to sign that, as is.

Showhtr, you write much more clearly than I. Your logic, especially putting the "shoe" on the other foot was perfect way to explain my position.

amt813
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:03 PM
I think that a clause like that is asking for problems - personally, I would not sign a contract with that language.

How do you determine if the person leasing the horse "causes" the injury. Is it assumed that if the horse gets injured during the lease that the person leasing the horse "caused" the injury. Perhaps I am the odd man out but in most instances that I know of where a horse was injured it was impossible to tell exactly when, where, why or how that injury occured. Sure, you could guess and maybe say most likely this happened because ... but it was never an absolute.

Jheregvonmunch
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:14 PM
These are two clients I am trying to formulate a contract for, Im trying to be fair to both sides and its really giving me a hard time :)

1. The lessee wanted a whole year... if that had happened I would have forced her to have the insurance policy.

2. The owner did not want a year, she just wants someone to pay the board for 4 months because her daughter is busy. She already holds a 10k major medical policy.

3. The owner doesnt want to be responsible for any medical costs during or after. She will allow the Lessee to claim on her insurance.

4. I was thinking of putting : In the case of gross negligence the lessee is responsible for all medical expenses which are not covered insurance, even if those associated expenses continue past completion of the lease. In the case of unpreventable injury the lessee is responsible for all medical expenses which are not covered by the insurance but will not be responsible once the lease period ends.

Is this all a mute point if the owner hold major medical, isnt the insurance just going to cover it?

findeight
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:21 PM
Why do you think this is not fair? If the lessee caused the injury, shouldn't they pay for it in full? The lessor's insurance policy is immaterial.

Unless the leasee specifically and deliberately caused caused the injury or it occured as the result of gross negligence? No, its the leasors horse and the leasee does not have to pay in perpetuity. When you lease a horse, you do so because you do not want to own one with everything that entails.

Why in the world would any leasee sign a contract locking them into any and all expenses occuring from any injury occuring to somebody else's horse while in your care for the rest of it's life????

I dunno, suspensories happen people. You might like to think you did something wrong that caused it but, like life in general, sometimes bad things happen to good people and horses.

I would not sign that lease.

Lucassb
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:23 PM
These are two clients I am trying to formulate a contract for, Im trying to be fair to both sides and its really giving me a hard time :)

1. The lessee wanted a whole year... if that had happened I would have forced her to have the insurance policy.

2. The owner did not want a year, she just wants someone to pay the board for 4 months because her daughter is busy. She already holds a 10k major medical policy.

3. The owner doesnt want to be responsible for any medical costs during or after. She will allow the Lessee to claim on her insurance.

4. I was thinking of putting : In the case of gross negligence the lessee is responsible for all medical expenses which are not covered insurance, even if those associated expenses continue past completion of the lease. In the case of unpreventable injury the lessee is responsible for all medical expenses which are not covered by the insurance but will not be responsible once the lease period ends.

Is this all a mute point if the owner hold major medical, isnt the insurance just going to cover it?

I would never sign such an agreement as the lessee. Who would determine what constitutes "gross negligence" ... or even "unpreventable injury"... ? (I think you mean preventable, actually ... but it doesn't matter. I wouldn't sign either way.)

If the horse was severely injured and needed ongoing care for a long period of time, you could go through $10k of insurance in a heartbeat. A single surgical procedure could exceed that amount in a few hours.

The lessee could be paying on that kind of situation for YEARS. That is not a fair deal in any way, shape or form.

If the owner doesn't want to be responsible for the horse's costs during the lease - fair enough. They require the lessee to buy insurance coverage for that period.

If the issue of extended treatment is a huge concern and the lessee REALLY wants the horse, you can possibly ask the lessee to pay for a one YEAR policy (even though they are only getting a 4 month lease.) That is the most coverage ANYONE can get at one time and SHOULD cover the treatment of most illnesses and injuries that arise during the lease, even if the need for treatment continues for months after the lease itself is concluded.

No reasonable person is going to lease a horse for such a short period of time if they have to agree to be liable for the horses bills forever.

findeight
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:33 PM
I always had a major medical exclusion in my lease contracts. On BOTH sides.

If that horse I owned had a major injury (not caused by negligence or gross misuse) I NEVER expected them to continue to pay on it and would take the horse back and refund as appropriate.

As a leasor, I would not expect to pay fuull fees on an unusable horse for the rest of the lease term.

As a 45 year horse owner, I insisted on those provisions as leasee and offered them as leassor. I realize others have different expectations and requirements. But I thought that fair.

But, honestly, on a friggen FREE lease???? I am not signing to be responsible for anything and everything that could happen to that horse for it's lifetime on earth because it was allegedly caused by something while in my care.

It may only be for 4 months but you CAN insure that and that's the way to go.

That leassor client needs to either sell it and relenquish complete control or keep it and assume all responsibility. Not expect somebody to assume all the costs and potential liability while not enjoying any of the benefits of ownership AND be on the hook for an assortment of expenses. I mean, if it had colic surgery the last 3 days they had it, would they have to pay for all the aftercare and check ups and, maybe, another colic surgery 6 months after they surrendered the horse to the owner????

Kementari
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:41 PM
My lease contract specifies that the lessee pays ALL the bills for any injury caused by their gross negligence. I've never had anyone bat an eye at that.

I think it's pretty funny that some people apparently think that if they were to, say, put a horse in a trailer that they knew to have a bad floor to haul it back to the owner on the last day of the lease - well, they should only be responsible for the vet bill for THAT day.

"Gross negligence" is a legal term, by the way. It has a definition, and it's decided by statutes and courts. There's no "oh, gee, how do we define that?" going on.

If I thought that I could be 110% sure that every person I leased a horse out to would be absolutely perfect and I would never have to worry about anything they, their families, their trainers, etc might do, then I wouldn't need a lease contract AT ALL. But these are humans, and while obviously I trust them and have done my own due diligence, I don't feel like the risk of a lifetime's vet bills because they caused permanent damage to my horse through wanton neglect. (And even the best insurance has limits and exclusions.)

Mind you, if my horse gets hurt in their (safe, appropriate) pasture, or in a wreck on the highway because someone cut them off, or even in the middle of a ride accidentally - in none of those cases would I (or my contract) expect them to pay past the end of the lease. We all know horses are a risk, and if I couldn't accept that I wouldn't own them. But if I am letting YOU use MY horse, I expect you not to be an idiot. And to pay for the damage you cause if you defy that expectation.

(I should add, by the way, that all the people I've leased to have been great! :yes:)

BeeHoney
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:52 PM
Kementari's post is right on about gross negligence. But gross negligence aside, there's no way to eliminate risk for either party in a lease. Yes, the horse could have an injury halfway through the lease and the person leasing the horse is stuck with paying a lease fee on a lame horse. Yes, the horse could have a career ending injury during the lease and be returned to the owner at the end of the lease permanently lame. You have to accept some risk when doing a lease.

The best way to handle it is to have the horse properly insured with major medical and mortality. If it is an unusually valuable or special horse, then "loss of use" insurance could be included as well. The clause about the person leasing the horse being responsible for expenses after the lease is up...well, most horse insurance policies should continue to pay for the medical bills related to the injury that occurred, that should be a moot point. When the lease is up, the responsibility of that person should end.

Personally, when leasing out a horse I specify very specifically the care the horse is to receive and the riding program that the horse can be used for. Also, I only lease horses out to situations where the care and riding program can be monitored--i.e. at my barn, or at the barn of a trainer I know well, etc. If the care and riding specifications are followed, then I recognize that the horse just as likely could have gotten hurt at my own farm being ridden by me. That's just chance.

I see nothing wrong with being a little flexible though, to make both parties happy in the OPs situation. If the lease is otherwise a good value, perhaps add a clause that if the horse is unsound at the end of the lease term the person leasing the horse is responsible for up to $x in vet bills over the next x months if not covered by insurance.

findeight
Apr. 1, 2011, 03:55 PM
... The owner wants a clause in the contract that states if the lessee injures the horse during the lease they have to pay the vet expenses. Fine. No problem there... but they also want a clause to say once the 4 months is over and the lease is ended if the horse is still off due to that injury they want the lessee to continue to pay the medical expenses.

To answer the original question? NO it is not normal to expect a 4 month (free) leasee-or a 1/3 value year leasee- to sign and agree to continue to pay medical expenses forever on that horse if the medical was not caused by gross misuse or negligence on their part.

Sh*t happens and it's nobody's fault. Again, I would not sign that kind of thing.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 1, 2011, 04:32 PM
Personally, when leasing out a horse I specify very specifically the care the horse is to receive and the riding program that the horse can be used for. Also, I only lease horses out to situations where the care and riding program can be monitored--i.e. at my barn, or at the barn of a trainer I know well, etc. If the care and riding specifications are followed, then I recognize that the horse just as likely could have gotten hurt at my own farm being ridden by me. That's just chance.



I think this part is extremely important. My lease contract spells out pretty specific parameters of how my horse is to be used and by whom, under the supervision of trainers _____ and _____, etc. Things like number of times per week horse is to be used in work over fences, number of shows horse can attend per month, who exactly is allowed to ride the horse (ie, not for use in lessons, not for use by friends of lessee to "learn to ride"), etc. I try to be as realistic as possible about these constraints, and they are all spelled out to lessee and trainer before anything is signed.

IME, spelling out these parameters kind of sets the standards for what you would consider irresponsible/inappropriate use of your horse. Ie, if you say "jumping permitted 2x per week at ____ height under the supervision of trainer ____", then the lessee proceeds to jump 5 days a week, two feet higher than stipulated, without the supervision of said trainer, which then results in an injury, you're covered and they're on the hook. But if the lessee had a track record of following the contract's parameters and the horse slipped in turnout, I'd consider it part of the risk of leasing out my horse. That kind of thing could have happened while he was sitting in my field getting fat.

If anything, making these parameters clear from the moment pen hits the paper spells out to the lessee that you mean business, and that wandering from your expectations of what "reasonable" is does indeed mean they've breached the contract.

HuntrJumpr
Apr. 1, 2011, 05:04 PM
I spoke with an insurance company about a lease horse once recently and they actually recommended something along this time - I did not double check it with a lawyer or really ponder the potential implications too much, but this company said that they had many clients who required leasees to a.) hold insurance, b.) pay a percentage of the horse's value if it is permanently/irreversibly injured outside of accident, and c.) pay a certain amount (not full cost of lease or full cost of any ongoing vet bills) per month if the horse is out of commission for an injury that isn't an accident. Obviously there are things I outlined there that would need to be reworded into legal-ese and there are some fuzzy definitions around "accident" but apparently its been done.

And as an owner, I'd be all for it. If my horse is injured because... I don't know, say the leasees don't get the horse fit before expecting it to jump around because they figure -most- of the time a horse will be just fine for a few jumps even if it is unfit, and the leased horse pulls something... That is their fault, and in my opinion, they should be responsible.

Kryswyn
Apr. 2, 2011, 12:01 AM
So if the lessee knows they'll be responsible forever because the horse will never be sound again, does this mean they can choose to have the horse PTS? I mean, he may not belong to them, but if you're going to keep them on the hook for vet costs after the lease, then they could argue that they don't feel that keeping the horse as a pasture puff is fair quality of life and decide he's better off dead.

It just seems to me, that if I were the lessee, and you were asking me to sign 'medical bills to be paid until horse is in same condition as start of lease' I'd insert 2 clauses. 1) that if the horse will never be usable at the same level, I'd want the option to buy at new FMV, and 2) I'd add a clause that if lessor's horse injures ME, that lessor will be responsible for my medical expenses until I'm sound again.

gottagrey
Apr. 2, 2011, 01:17 PM
I had somewhat of a free lease on my horse a couple of summers ago. The BM/Bo gave me a contract to sign which would release her of any responsibility/liability if my horse caused injury to the jr. rider. Well I read that darn contract and realized I would be holding the bag for everything HUH. Why should I as owner be responsible for medical /vet bills which might have occurred while horse was away at a show? And I mean more along the lines of injury sustained while being handled as opposed to ridden.For example - my horse doesn't behave on trailer when he's alone... if they leave him alone, he freaks and hurts himself - that's not going to be my financial problem.

The owner/lessor in this case is apparently educated on such matters and probably realizes and understands the difference between an injury sustained out in the field vs an injury by being somewhat careless (negligent).

After reading this thread if I found myself in a similar situation again, I think I would also add that any additional fees resulting from injury would also be the responsibility of the lessee.. meaning if a barn charges for hand walking, bandages, more for stall rest etc... I wouldn't want to be left holding the financial bag for an injury caused by someone else.

So say lessee is texting her friends while riding Rocky in a field... she's all excited about party so paying more attention to texts than where she's riding... Rocky takes a mistep and manages to cut himself and find out later he might have pulled something.. Now there's a vet bill for stitches, bandages & wound care by barn staff, ultrasounds and fees for stall rest & handwalking...Should the owner take over those expenses in 2 months? or should the lessee be responsible for them unless he's back to work? I think the latter. And just because he has insurance doesn't mean a person would want to file a claim. too many claims - exclusions or cancellation.

Rel6
Apr. 2, 2011, 02:11 PM
As someone who has leased 8 horses in her junior career, I would NEVER sign it. What happens if a few months into your lease you find out that the horse has arthritis? Sure its supposed to be caught by a vet, but my friend bought a horse that passed the vet (xrays and everything) and a few months later was lame. Are you then expected to pay for everything that has to do with the horses's arthritis for the rest of its life?

Also, and I know the OP isn't doing this, but someone else selling a horse with that clause might know that this horse has a chronic condition. So then the leasee is cheated into paying expenses for a pre-existing condition, because they didn't know it *was* a pre-existing condition.

Sorry, but no. I would not touch that clause with a ten foot pole.

Sunset Ponies
Apr. 2, 2011, 02:36 PM
As someone who leases out my ponies and I wouldn't sign this kind of contract. I realize that part of leasing ponies instead of selling them is that I am ultimately responsible for the pony after the lease is up. It is actually why I choose to lease some of my ponies. If they come to the end of their career, I want to be the one that takes care of them in their retirement.

That being said, my contract has lots of stipulations about what can and can't be done with the pony while it is on lease and I do lots of background checks before they are leased. I also check in on them regularly to make sure those stipulations are being followed. The leasee is responsible for everything during the lease, but nothing after the fact. That is why many people choose to lease.

Jaideux
Apr. 3, 2011, 10:33 PM
Another reason I don't like this idea of the leasee being on the hook for medical costs after the end of the lease:

If I were the leasee, and I was on the hook, I would want to know that the owner is doing the aftercare BY THE BOOK. And we all know that THE BOOK (which doesn't exist) has several editions, some of which we all own and some of which only the cactuswhacked own.

Imagine this scenario: I'm leasing a horse who comes up lame the last week of my lease. The owner takes it back and keeps it stall-bound until sound again. The horse in turns freaks out from being on so much turn-in and prolongs the healing. Am I still on the hook?

Or, what about the part where I and the vet believe the horse would recover better and faster on light, quiet turnout, but the owner disagrees and opts for total stall rest? Am I still on the hook?

What if the owner of this lame horse opts for an experimental surgery to fix the lameness and I definitely think it's just a sprain that the horse will recover from with a traditional cold hose/wrap routine? Am I still on the hook?

I think it just makes the most sense to require a leasee to take out an insurance policy for an agreed upon value that names the owner as the benefactor, and just select a carrier that will honor medical costs beyond the end of the lease.

Or, better yet, (if this is even possible) just include the cost of the insurance in the lease fee so you never have to worry about policies lapsing, etc. If a claim needs to be made, you *should* be the first or second call the leasee makes, anyway, so it's not like they could or should be keeping it a secret, anyway, right?

HenryisBlaisin'
Apr. 4, 2011, 07:19 PM
I think it depends on the injury and its cause. If the horse slips in the paddock and injures a suspensory, then perhaps bills should end with the lease. Horse develops something like Cushings, then that's a no-brainer-of course the owner reassumes the bills when the lease ends

But if the lessee is at fault for the injury (paddock is muddy and slippery and horse is turned out anyway; horse steps in a hole on a trail ride, horse founders because lessee left the feed bin unlocked) then the lessee should be responsible for the entire bill, no way the owner should be tagged with that, no matter when the lease ends.

If you rent a car and wreck it, you are responsible for the entire repair, even if the repair is performed a week after you return the car. Why should that be different if the lessee is at fault with a horse they don't own?

When I leased out my horse, the lease specifically stated that the lessee was responsible for any and all vet bills incurred from any injury caused by a lack of due diligence. As owner, I was responsible for things like colic surgery (provided colic wasn't due to any negligence on her part).